Is Saudi Arabia Broke?

I ask this question because of a report that I read last week……I seems that the oil arm of the Saudi royal family, ARAMCO, is about to offer an IPO on the stock exchange……

Saudi Arabia began an initial public offering Sunday of a sliver of oil giant Saudi Aramco after years of delay, hoping international and local investors will pay billions for a stake in the kingdom’s crown jewels, reports the AP. An approval by Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority served as the starting gun for an IPO promised by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman since 2016. But unlike traditional IPOs, Saudi Aramco offered no hoped-for price range nor idea how much of the firm would be offered on Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange. Analysts say the kingdom likely hopes local investors will push share prices toward a desired $2 trillion valuation and buoy that price ahead of any further listing abroad. Saudi Aramco made a point in its filings to highlight its profitability and low costs through data once held as a state secret by the royal family, euphemistically referred to as its “current shareholder.”

However, economic worries, the trade war between China and the US, and increased US crude oil production have depressed energy prices. A Sept. 14 attack on Saudi Aramco spooked some investors, with one ratings firm already downgrading it. It’s hard to overstate Saudi Aramco’s power: It produces over 10 million barrels of crude oil a day, some 10% of global demand. The firm’s net income in 2018 was $111.1 billion, far beyond the combined net income of oil giants BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, and Total SA. Al-Arabiya reported last week that pricing for the stock will begin Nov. 17. A final price will be set Dec. 4, with shares beginning to be traded on the Tadawul on Dec. 11. Analysts say a $2 trillion valuation—Apple and Microsoft are $1 trillion each—may be a stretch. By announcing the start of the IPO on Sunday, Prince Mohammed may have been convinced to take a lower valuation in order to get the IPO moving.

Why would the Royals who own the oil in Saudi want to submit to the regulations of a stock exchange?

Then maybe Gen. Petraeus has the answer……

Gen. David Petraeus, the retired four-star Army general and former head of the CIA, told CNBC on Thursday that Saudi Arabia is “gradually running out of money.”

Petraeus said the Saudi’s need their initial public offering (IPO) of the state-run oil company Aramco, to be successful. In December, the Saudis plan on releasing some shares of Aramco to the public in an effort to attract outside investors.

The IPO is part of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s “Vision 2030,” his effort to diversify Saudi Arabia’s economy and reduce its dependence on oil exports. Petraeus said Saudi Arabia’s budget deficits can be “anywhere from $40 to $60 billion” each year, depending on the price of oil.

When asked about other people’s criticisms of the crown prince, Petraeus said it was in the entire world’s interest to see “Saudi Arabia succeed” and to also see it “moderate” some of its practices.

(antiwar.com)

Petraeus is currently the chair of the KKR Global Institute, a branch of the American global investment firm KKR. Petraeus said there is no KKR investment into Saudi Arabia he is aware of yet, and that the Saudis need to “regain the confidence of all the investors of the world.” But Petraeus did say KKR has invested elsewhere in the region and put $2 billion into the United Arab Emirates’ Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Why is Saudi running out of cash?

Why would the Royals allow someone to gain control over their production?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Will You Pardon Me?

Trump is doing what he can to give him a pro-military lean for the 2020 election……even to the point of pardoning war criminals…..

Even with all the wars the US is presently involved in and all the shady activity that goes with that, it’s fairly unusual for the military to get around to charging personnel with war crimes. When they do, however, military commanders try to emphasize the importance, both to show the military doesn’t let everyone get away with everything, and to deter personnel from ignoring the chain of command.

On Friday, however, President Trump knocked out three of those war crimes cases with full pardons. The White House statement said they wanted to give US soldiers the “confidence to fight.”

Maj. Matthew Golsteyn was being held on charges of murdering an Afghan detainee. He repeatedly admitted to doing so. Trump had repeatedly expressed support for Golsteyn and for the killing.

Golsteyn was told by an Afghan tribal elder that the murder victim, Rasoul, was Taliban, and detained him on that basis. The military required Rasoul’s release after the maximum time of detention without charges, so Golsteyn let him go, and ambushed and murdered him outside the base. Golsteyn has recently tried to rebrand this as a legal ambushing, arguing that he suspected Rasoul was “trying to rejoin the Taliban” since he was released.

Lt. Clint Lorance was convicted of two murder charges for ordering troops to murder Afghans on motorcycles. He had been serving 19 years in prison. The killing was detailed in the Starz documentary “Leavenworth,” where platoon members discussed the killings.

SEAL Edward Gallagher was facing a murder charge for posing for a photo with a corpse, in addition to already being found guilty of posing for the photo in general. Trump not only pardoned Gallagher, but restored his rank to Chief Petty Officer.

The Pentagon’s commanders are deeply concerned about these moves, and had been trying to talk Trump out of them. They argue that military discipline will suffer if soldiers believe they can ignore military rules on the assumption of a pardon.

Trump’s position is built around showing that he is so pro-military that he can excuse war crimes, including murder, on the basis that the soldiers are supposed to be killing the enemy anyhow, and it’s unfair to judge just how they kill.

(antiwar.com)

Pentagon commanders worried moves will undermine military justice….just few a few votes.

As I understand it….if one accepts a pardon then one admits to the crimes….ergo they are guilty.

We have the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the president should keep his grubby little hands out of the military…..

So for all time they will be known as pardoned war criminals.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Random Thoughts For A Sunday

Cool weather…..falling leaves and the approach of our Thanksgiving….a few thoughts that I had that did not make it into separate posts and Sunday is a good day to post those thoughts…..as random thoughts.

I am an animal lover so let’s begin with a couple of stories that involve animals……

First, some good news in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian…..

Three cows swept away from North Carolina’s Cedar Island by Hurricane Dorian in early September were presumed dead, along with dozens of wild horses. But they had actually built new lives as castaways in the Outer Banks, the BBC reports. Authorities believe that after they were swept away by a wall of water likened to a “mini-tsunami,” they swam up to 5 miles to reach Cape Lookout National Seashore park. The cows were part of a herd that roamed private land on Cedar Island, reports the Charlotte Observer. National Park Service officials say they have set a 30-day deadline for somebody to submit a plan to remove the cows from federal land. They may have to be sedated and returned to Cedar Island by boat.

Authorities say the first cow was spotted on the group of narrow barrier islands the day after the hurricane and two yearlings were spotted a few weeks later. “It’s a tremendous story of how they made it,” park spokesman BG Horvat tells the New York Times. “If the cows could talk, imagine the story they can tell you of enduring that rush of water,” he says. “That must be incredible.” The herd’s caretaker has confirmed that they are from Cedar Island. “Ever since they found each other, they have been hanging out together,” Horvat says. “They are just grazing on the North Core Island.

Next is an oh crap moment……

A group of drug traffickers heard on a wiretap complaining that pigs had found their cocaine stash weren’t talking about the police. Authorities in Italy arrested four suspected traffickers after they heard them lament that a pack of wild boars had dug up a package of cocaine worth around $22,000 and scattered its contents in a forest in Tuscany, Fox reports. The traffickers—one Italian citizen and three Albanians—had been under investigation since a drug-related murder last year. The Local reports that feral hogs have been proliferating in the Italian countryside, making life difficult for farmers and motorists as well as drug traffickers. It’s not clear what happened to the pack that dug up the drug stash.

There is something that all “Preppers” should be chomping at the bit….a way to survive the coming disaster (whatever that may be)………

Not trying to be a downer, but humanity’s future on Earth isn’t looking so bright.

Between the threats of climate change, nuclear warfare, antibiotic resistance, biological weapons, incoming asteroids, and killer robots, civilization could seemingly collapse at any moment — and if or when it does, you’re really going to wish you bought this decommissioned nuclear missile silo in Arizona.

From 1963 through the early 1980s, the United States operated 18 underground missile silos near Tucson, Arizona, each containing a Titan 2 missile armed with a nine-megaton nuclear warhead.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/someone-selling-decommissioned-nuclear-missile-silo

Is it possible to pull food out of thin air?  Some say yes…..

While several startups are already selling “meat” made from plants, California’s Air Protein says it’s figured out how to make meat from thin air — by building on an idea NASA had in the 1960s.

According to Air Protein’s website, NASA thought it might be able to use microbes called hydrogenotrophs to created a closed-loop feeding system for astronauts in space. The astronauts would breathe out carbon dioxide, which the microbes could eat and convert into nutrients that the astronauts could then eat, starting the cycle over again.

https://futurism.com/the-byte/this-startup-creating-meat-air

That concludes my Sunday post…..have a day and see yo8u soon…..

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“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Go To The Transcript #7

The transcripts of the testimony of the witnesses that was given in the SCIF are being released slowly but slowly….that is because they must go through a vetting process….

Yesterday two more transcripts were released…..Timothy Morrison, a National Security Council staffer and Jennifer Williams who is an aid to VP Pence…..

For those that would like to read the words of these witnesses then I have posted links to their transcripts…..

First, Timothy Morrison……https://www.lawfareblog.com/transcript-tim-morrison-testimony

Next that of Jennifer Williams…….Read her testimony transcript here.

And in case that you are late to the transcript reading I will also pst links to all the released documents to date…..

Read Yovanovitch’s testimony in full here. (Initial news coverage of her testimony is here.)

Read McKinley’s testimony in full here.

Read Volker’s testimony here……https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6540429/CPRT-116-IG00-D007.pdf

… another transcript was released to the public…that of Ukraine expert…..Bill Taylor and it can be read here……https://www.scribd.com/document/433753426/William-Taylor-testimony

Second from Fiona Hill……https://www.scribd.com/document/434065486/Fiona-Hill-testimony

…another 3 transcripts were released….that of a Deputy Sec. of Defense, Laura Cooper……you may read the entire thing here…..https://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/CPRT-116-IG00-D012.pdf

Christopher Anderson who was an assistant to the Ukraine Envoy….his testimony can be read here……https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/11/politics/read-testimony-christopher-anderson/index.html

Catherine Croft, a top State Department official….her’s can be read here…..https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/read-transcript-state-dept-official-catherine-croft-s-impeachment-testimony-n1080331

So far the transcripts have proven valuable documents for those that truly want to see this process play out legally and fair.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

 

The most recent release from yesterday…..State Department employee testimony can be read here…..https://www.scribd.com/document/433921637/George-Kent-testimony

…two transcripts released for public consumption……..first the transcript of the testimony from Col. Vindman…….https://www.scribd.com/document/434064258/Vindman-pdf

Sorry tom interrupt your weekend with this news….but I want to get them out there as soon as I can so my readers will be well informed…

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I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

The Cloak Of Invisibility

That sound alike a special thing some fantasy hero has to combat the forces of evil……

After a cold week the weekend appears to be warmer and sunny….but we will see…..

What a coup that would be….if someone figures out how to make things invisible…..especially on the battlefield….

Canada’s Hyperstealth Biotechnology already manufactures camouflage uniforms for militaries across the globe.

But now, the company has patented a new “Quantum Stealth” material that disguises a military’s soldiers — or even its tanks, aircraft, and ships — by making anything behind it seem invisible.

Earlier in October, Hyperstealth filed a patent for the material, which doesn’t require a power source and is both paper-thin and inexpensive — all traits that could make it appealing for use on the battlefield.

According to a press release, it works by bending the light around a target to make it seemingly disappear. This light can be in the visible spectrum, or it can be ultraviolet, infrared, or shortwave infrared light, making the material what Hyperstealth calls a “broadband invisibility cloak.”

https://futurism.com/the-byte/watch-invisibility-cloak-military-use

Impeachment Hearing–Day 2

I break with my tradition of posting very little news on the weekends but this is important enough for me to break with my routine…..

The House impeachment saga returns for a second day of witnesses…..as a service I will try and post my thoughts on these proceedings to help my readers become aware of the antics and evidence as it is made public…..

Today was the testimony of ex-ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch…….

We begin with the opening statements from the the ambassador and the two heads of the committee,,,,,

  • Opening statement: Read Yovanovitch’s in full via Axios here. “Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American Ambassador who does not give them what they want,” she said. (Read a summary of her testimony from behind closed doors last month.)
  • Schiff: Read his opening statement here. He said Yovanovitch’s ouster as ambassador “was a stunning turn of events for this highly regarded career diplomat.” The ouster was purely political, he added. “Yovanovitch was serving our nation’s interest in fighting corruption in Ukraine, but she was considered an obstacle to the furtherance of the President’s personal and political agenda. For that she was smeared and cast aside.”
  • Devin Nunes: In his own opening statement, Schiff’s GOP counterpart slammed Democrats for acting like “some kind of strange cult” while seeking to “fulfill their Watergate fantasies,” per the Washington Post. Nunes also read an excerpt from Trump’s first phone call with Ukraine’s leader, in April, to make the case that Trump sought no favors. (The White House released a readout of that call on Friday.) “It’s unfortunate that today and for most of the next week we will continue engaging in the Democrats’ day-long TV spectacles instead of the problems we were all sent to Washington to address,” he said. His full opening statement is here.

Now the day’s doings…….

In his questioning of Marie Yovanovitch during Friday’s impeachment hearing, GOP Rep. Mike Conaway seemed to perplex the former ambassador with one of his queries. It happened after he referred to the testimony of diplomat George Kent earlier in the week:

  • Conaway: Kent “made some exemplary statements about you, really glowing,” said Conaway, per CNN. “All of us would like to be the recipient of something that worthy, and I believe you are as well. Any reason on Earth that you can think of that George Kent would be saying that because of some reason other than the fact he believes it in his heart of hearts?”
  • Yovanovitch: “Like, like what?”
  • Conaway: “Well, I mean like somebody paid him to do it?”
  • Yovanovitch: “No, absolutely not.”

Politico has video of the exchange and says Yovanovitch was “stunned” by it. Some other notable moments:

  • “Are you a never Trumper?” asked Democratic Rep. Terri Sewell, per the Wall Street Journal. “No,” responded Yovanovitch, noting that she has served under four Republican presidents.
  • Another response from Yovanovitch, who was ousted from her post as ambassador to Ukraine: “What I’d like to say is, while I obviously don’t dispute that the President has the right to withdraw an ambassador at any time for any reason, but what I do wonder is why it was necessary to smear my reputation also?”
  • GOP Rep. Jim Jordan mentioned criticism by Ukrainian officials in 2016 of then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. “No one did anything,” Jordan told Yovanovitch, per the Washington Post. So “you see why maybe, maybe the president was a little concerned about what went on in Ukraine.” But the former ambassador responded: “I can’t speak for the president on this. … From my point of view, that doesn’t create a Ukrainian government strategy to interfere in our election. … It doesn’t necessarily constitute interference.”

Jimbo Baggins (Rep. Jim Jordan) and Willy the Weasel(Rep. Devin Nunes) accomplished the only thing they are capable of doing….attempt to disrupt and look like the spineless toads they truly are….their words were incoherent and rattled……these guys failed…… all they accomplished was to put their lip prints on Trump’s ass.

Day two of the hearings is in the bag…..Monday we begin again…..

Remember:  It Ain’t Over Until It’s Over!

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Today Will Be A Busy Day

All eyes should be on their favorite news outlet for the live coverage of the impeachment proceedings……the AP breakdown the important stuff for the day………

IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS GO LIVE ON TV

Two seasoned diplomats, William Taylor and George Kent, will be the first witnesses to publicly testify in the House impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

WHAT’S AT STAKE FOR TRUMP

The president comes face to face with the limits of his power, as public impeachment hearings will help shape how he will be viewed by voters next year and his place in history.

If that is not to your liking and not your cup of tea then there are several other important issues playing out today……

 

  • Key players. The Hill lists some key players to watch during the hearings, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who will be the first lawmaker to question the witnesses. Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the committee, will also be allowed to make an opening statement and question witnesses for up to 45 minutes.
  • Trump: “The circus is coming to town.” Trump called Sean Hannity a “brave warrior” and tweeted parts of his anti-impeachment rant. “The circus is coming to town. The corrupt, compromised, coward & congenital liar Adam Schiff Show on Capital Hill,” Trump wrote. “There is zero due process, none. It is yet another fraudulent hoax conspiracy theory. It is another Witch Hunt.”
  • The Democratic case. A top Democratic official tells the New York Times that the witnesses will help make the case that Trump is guilty of “serious misconduct” by trying to “bribe, extort, condition or coerce” Ukraine’s president to investigate one of his political rivals. Schiff said Tuesday that he believes Trump is guilty of both bribery and “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which are impeachable offenses under the Constitution.
  • The GOP defense. The BBC reports that a memo circulating Tuesday set out a “straightforward” Republican defense of Trump. GOP lawmakers are expected to argue that Trump was acting out of legitimate concerns about corruption—and that witnesses who say otherwise are “unelected bureaucrats” who are biased against the president.
  • Debunked claims. The Washington Post lists some debunked claims likely to surface during the hearings, including Trump’s argument that his July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president was “perfect.”

How to watch. The proceedings will be aired live on C-Span and cable news networks, reports Business Insider. They will also be streamed on the websites of the House Intelligence Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

And now for the rest of the world……..

 

TRUMP, ERDOGAN TO MEET AT WHITE HOUSE

Relations between the two NATO allies are at their lowest point in decades, with Turkey turning toward Russia on security issues and Ankara facing a Washington backlash over attacks on Kurdish forces and civilians.

AS HONG KONG DESCENDS INTO CHAOS, CHINA MULLS OPTIONS

Analysts say that the violent protests, now in their sixth month, may give Beijing the justification it needs to take more direct action.

KABUL’S AIR POLLUTION MAY BE EVEN DEADLIER THAN WAR

A research group says more than 26,000 deaths in Afghanistan’s capital could be attributed to air pollution in 2017, compared to 3,483 civilians killed that year in the Afghan war.

I think that ALL Americans should watch the hearings and listen closely to the testimony……plus if you are planning to watch the circus then maybe you should be armed with the transcripts….and the old professor can help with that as well…..

3 transcripts were released….that of a Deputy Sec. of Defense, Laura Cooper……you may read the entire thing here…..https://docs.house.gov/meetings/IG/IG00/CPRT-116-IG00-D012.pdf

Christopher Anderson who was an assistant to the Ukraine Envoy….his testimony can be read here……https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/11/politics/read-testimony-christopher-anderson/index.html

Catherine Croft, a top State Department official….her’s can be read here…..https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/read-transcript-state-dept-official-catherine-croft-s-impeachment-testimony-n1080331

Read Yovanovitch’s testimony in full here. (Initial news coverage of her testimony is here.)

Read McKinley’s testimony in full here.

Read Volker’s testimony here……https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6540429/CPRT-116-IG00-D007.pdf

… another transcript was released to the public…that of Ukraine expert…..Bill Taylor and it can be read here……https://www.scribd.com/document/433753426/William-Taylor-testimony

The most recent release from yesterday…..State Department employee testimony can be read here…..https://www.scribd.com/document/433921637/George-Kent-testimony

…two transcripts released for public consumption……..first the transcript of the testimony from Col. Vindman…….https://www.scribd.com/document/434064258/Vindman-pdf

Second from Fiona Hill……https://www.scribd.com/document/434065486/Fiona-Hill-testimony

Now you are ready for the proceedings to begin…..

Not to worry I will post a short summary of the day’s proceedings…..

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I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”